The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin
In January, the FCC adopted a Policy Statement and 2nd FNPRM stating the goal that all wireless telephone companies and providers of interconnected text messaging services should enable consumers to send text messages to 911. The FCC encouraged industry-developed solutions to achieve this goal and proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014. (TMI Regulatory Bulletin Service subscribers see Bulletin Dated February 27, 2014.)
On March 7, 2014, the FCC announced availability of an interactive webpage with best practices to assist text message providers and 911 call centers with deploying text-to-911. The webpage contains materials prepared by Vermont, Texas, and other state 911 call centers that have already successfully integrated text-to-911 with expertise and insight that can ease the deployment process for others. For example, the State of Vermont has developed a list of “lessons learned” from its text-to-911 implementation as well as a series of informational videos for potential text-to-911 users. It also contains documents from public safety organizations NENA and APCO, with Frequently Asked Questions, a checklist of issues that 911 call centers should consider, and technological options available to support text-to-911.
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly posted a blog titled “TCPA: It is Time to Provide Clarity.” He reminds us that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 1991 to address the issue of unwanted telephone marketing calls and faxes. It restricts making telemarketing calls, using automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages, and sending unsolicited faxes. He notes that over time the rules have become complex and unclear. He says that the FCC must answer important questions and provide much needed guidance on a variety of TCPA issues, including what it means to initiate a call, whether there is liability for calls made to reassigned phone numbers, whether consent can be obtained through intermediaries, whether consent be inferred from consumer behavior or social norms, whether devices including smartphones could be considered automatic telephone dialing systems, and what types of faxes are actually unsolicited.
The Public Service Staff will convene a purchase of receivables (POR) collaborative meeting on April 8, 2014, at the Department’s Albany Offices. The purpose of this collaborative is to identify what changes must be made in order to implement the new POR requirements identified in the PSC’s Order Taking Actions To Improve The Residential And Small Nonresidential Retail Access Markets, issued February 25, 2014 (Order) and to explore the process and timing necessary for implementation of the required changes.
In addition, the Public Service Staff will convene a technical conference on April 7, 2014, at the Department’s Albany Offices. The purpose of the conference is to assist in implementing the new requirements of the Uniform Business Practices and to identify operational changes that must be implemented pursuant to the PSC’s Order.